The idea of privacy in the technological age seems difficult to imagine, but it may potentially get worse for subscribers with potential legislation being passed.
On Tuesday, Republicans introduced legislation that would make privacy rules more lenient on Internet service providers (ISP) and allow them to sell their subscribers' browsing history for advertising purposes, according to Ars Technica.
The current rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be eliminated, and if that happens, then those numerous ISPs would not need the "explicit" consent from consumers. These providers would be able to share or sell, what some would consider, private information with advertisers and other third parties.
This push back is a reaction to rules set by the FCC last year, which was actually a calming feeling for supporters of privacy. The FCC voted in October 2016 to enact restrictions for ISPs, limiting information shared about their subscribers, according to The Verge. The providers would need permission from subscribers before trying to share or sell information like browsing history, location, email content and etc.
The new proposed legislation is just a counter and reversal of last year's aforementioned restrictions.
That provision in 2016 was supposed to go into effect earlier this month, according to USA Today. However, the FCC voted to temporarily stay and prevent those privacy rules from fully taking effect.
So in the meantime, while the lawmakers are fighting each other over the issue, what are ways for users to protect their privacy and make sure personal information stays personal.
One simple way... delete it.
That may sound like an easy solution, but it works.
If you use Google Chrome, the Help section in support displays steps on how to delete browsing history when using a computer, IPhone or IPad and Android. Below shows steps to delete all history.
Steps for Computer:
- Click on the three dots at the top right,
- Click History
- Click clear browsing data (a box will appear)
- A drop-down menu will appear then select how much history you want deleted (Between: the past hour, day, week, 4 weeks and beginning of time.)
- Finally, click clear browsing data.
The process works similarly, with maybe just a couple different steps, for IPhones or IPads and Androids.
Google Chrome also has a mode called "Incognito mode" which a user can use if they don’t want Chrome to save browsing history.
Along with browsing history, Autofill form data and Cookies (no I don't mean the chocolate chip kind) are seemingly the most important to delete. A "cookie" is created when you visit a website and wants to store that information. Autofill form data is a function that contains forms, filling in a field automatically, including information like name, addresses and etc.
With the evolution of technology, privacy is getting tougher due to potential legislation, hacking occurrences and others factors, but there are still ways to help maintain the sanctity of your privacy.